Is Fish Good For Dogs?

Is Fish Good For Dogs?

The Amazing Benefits Of Fish For dogs


Many of us pet parents are turning to fish as an alternative source of protein for our dogs.

And why wouldn’t you?

Fish is not only an excellent source of protein but it is also low in fat, enriched with omega oils, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Because relatively few dogs are allergic to fish and its high in omega 3 its also a great hypoallergenic food for dogs suffering from allergies.

There are a couple of slippery nutritional matters to watch out for with fish however.

  • Make sure you avoid larger, pelagic fish like shark, broadbill, marlin and swordfish which can have higher levels of mercury.
  • Make sure your fish is fresh or processed professionally.


Dogs love the smell of fish it's a healthy source of protein and often included in commercial dog food as an alternative protein source. Omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits such as decreasing inflammation. Fish is also a good alternative for dogs with food allergies to more common ingredients, like chicken.


Home Cooked Fish For Dogs?

Fish can be an important part of a home-cooked diet, but if you choose to feed a homemade diet with fish, make sure you are meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs with a balanced diet. The first time you give your dog any fish, give only a small portion until you determine if your dog can tolerate that particular fish without an allergic reaction or gastro-intestinal upset.


Best Types of Fish for Dogs

There are many fish in the sea, but the most common types of fish used in commercial dog food are shorter-lived species like salmon, ocean whitefish, lake whitefish, herring, walleye, flounder, and Arctic char. Longer-lived fish species, like tuna and swordfish on the other hand, can contain heavy metals like mercury. Mercury builds up over time in the fish’s system and can lead to heavy metal toxicity, which is why feeding a shorter-lived fish species is preferable to tuna or swordfish. With so many fish to choose from, it is better to be safe than sorry.



Risks of Feeding Fish to Dogs

Fish itself is not harmful to dogs, but the way we prepare it can cause problems.

  • Don't cook it in too much oil which can cause GI upset in dogs, or even lead to serious illness such as pancreatitis.
  • Don't use seasonings which may also cause serious health problems for dogs, especially if they contain toxic ingredients, like garlic.
  • The biggest risk of feeding fish to dogs, however, is bones.


Can dogs eat fish bones?

Fish bones are small, brittle, and dangerous. They can lodge themselves in your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, sometimes even perforating the organ wall. Not only is this painful, it can also result in an expensive visit to the vet. While there are plenty of anecdotal stories about dogs eating fish bones without issues, in this instance, it is better to heed the advice of vets and play it safe.


Can dogs eat dried fish?

Dried fish is very safe for your dog. There are rarely side effects.

  • Dried sprats: Sprats are tiny, dried fish, which you can feed your dog whole. They don’t last long, which is why they tend to be used as a training treat and they are an excellent source of omega oils and other nutrients, much like fish skin. One nice thing about them, is that their scales are so tiny that they don’t tend to drop off.



How much fish is too much for dogs?


The thing is, too much of anything can become a problem. 

As humans with varied diets, we tend to forget that dogs that are fed a commercial, complete, and balanced dog food do not need additional nutrition unless recommended by a vet. But fish can make a good, healthy occasional treat for dogs. A general rule of thumb to follow for portion control is to make sure treats only make up 10 percent of your dog's daily diet.


So Can Dogs Eat Fish?

To make a long story short, yes, dogs can eat fish, and fish can be a part of a healthy diet for your dog, provided it is fully cooked without any additional oils and seasonings, does not contain any bones, and is not a species prone to high levels of mercury such as tuna. A good way to incorporate high-value oily fish into your dogs diet is to use fish-based dog treats. For more information about dog nutrition or feeding fish to your dog, contact your vet.


To browse Woofs fish-based dog treats click here